The crowd was unswayed by both Bruno's gaffe and Lewis's gesture. The cry went up for the challenger: "Bruno! Bruno! Bruno!"—deep and drawn out. Only the Welsh national anthem, Land of My Fathers, was sung. Lord Brooks, a Welshman, had ordered that God Save the Queen not be played. "The crowd will only boo," he said. "It would not be fitting."
With everyone casting an anxious eye at the black, threatening sky—it had rained hard, with swirling winds, most of the week, and the forecast on the night of the fight was for more of the same—Bruno built a comfortable lead in the early rounds behind a hard, accurate jab. Had it been raining at the 1 a.m. start (the ungodly hour had been agreed upon so that HBO could telecast the fight live back to the U.S. during prime time), there would have been a 24-hour postponement. If the fight had been halted by weather before three rounds were completed, it would have been ruled a technical draw. However, if the rain had begun falling past the third round, the man ahead on the judges' scorecards at that point would have been declared the winner. As it turned out, that man was Bruno, who led 29-28 after Round 3 on all three cards. Rain at that moment would have made the silent Juliet the WBC heavyweight champion of the world.
While Bruno's crushing jab gradually turned the left side of Lewis's face swollen and bloody, the champion operated in retreat behind his pushing jabs and occasional overhand rights, most of which followed a Western Union message announcing their arrival. The few attacks that Lewis was able to muster seemed spurred by anger, as if he'd been goaded by a bully until he could take no more. When Bruno responded to the assaults with barrages of his own, Lewis quickly backed off.
In the eyes of many ringside observers, Bruno was still well ahead after six rounds. Of course, the judges disagreed, which seems to be the WBC fashion these days. What could they have been watching? After Round 6, Adrian Morgan, a Welshman, had Bruno ahead 59-55, as did SI. But the two Americans, Jerry Roth and Tony Castellano, had scored it 57-57 to that point. That would have made it a majority draw—the outrageous outcome of last month's Pernell Whitaker- Julio C�sar Ch�vez WBC encounter, in which Whitaker was the clear winner.
No matter. In the first minute of the seventh round Bruno's chin got in the way of a Lewis left hook, and the sound of glass breaking echoed throughout the stadium. "I saw him pulling back to throw a right hand," said Lewis, "and I hit him with a perfect hook, which everybody said I didn't have."
Once hit, Bruno stood stark still, almost as if paralyzed. When hurt, almost any fighter, at least the good ones, will grab an opponent in a bear hug, quickly retreat or fire back until his head is clear. Not Bruno. With Bruno suddenly little more than a heavy bag, Lewis turned vicious. Right hand after right hand slammed against Bruno's stationary head. As the challenger sagged under the savage assault, referee Mickey Vann moved in and pushed Lewis away. But he wasn't stopping the fight. He was warning Lewis for holding. "I knew I was giving Bruno a few extra moments to recover, but a foul is a foul," Vann said later.
When Lewis was released from the penalty box, Bruno again stood there waiting, motionless, defenseless, hands down, wondering why there is never rain when you need it. After a few more needless punches Vann stepped in again, this time to put an end to the fight. An hour later Bruno was on his way back to London, where the rain had fallen all night.